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St Anthony’s students learn about renewable energy on World Environment Day

By Klysha Best

Students at St Anthony’s College (SAC) in Westmoorings were given a taste of what a difference they can make in the world today, if we all stopped our dependency on fossil fuels and began making the changes towards renewable energy.

The boys were recently tested on their knowledge of all things renewable during an interactive educational awareness event on June 5 courtesy the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Public Awareness and Education Campaign was held in commemoration of World Environment Day, which is aimed at bringing awareness about the importance of living in harmony with our natural environment and protecting our planet.

SAC was one of two secondary schools nationally to partner with the UNDP, the other being San Fernando Government Secondary.

The representatives on the day shared information about UNDP’s energy projects, provided practical advice, career options within the sector and held demonstrations on renewable energy sources for the home and the country at large.

So why was SAC one of two schools chosen? UNDP’s Consulting Engineer, Curtis Boodoo said: “The school has had a long history of success in Trinidad. Not only in sport, but academic success as well. We also wanted a school in the Port of Spain area that was active in the community and St Anthony’s College was a natural choice.”

He added, “Of course, the problems in Trinidad as it relates to young men is something that is a focus of a lot of organisations and we wanted to make sure that we reached quite a number of young men.”

Boodoo said their aim solely through the initiative is to promote renewable energy and show the young men “and of course, young women” in Trinidad and Tobago that they can be employed in these new fields related to renewable energy, like solar installation and wind energy etc.

“We want to promote the latest technology and get more youngsters into the field, and we want to say to them that this is a technology that is mature and is ready for Trinidad.”

SAC principal, Maurice Inniss applauded the initiative, and laid praise at the feet of the school’s management and advisory committee member Josanne Leonard.

He said as part of the curriculum development team for the school, she was the link between the school and the UNDP .

“When we had World Food Day, she put us on to the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organisation] and from there the programme developed. She reached out to the UN again in relation to World Environment Day and they said ‘Yes’ to partnering with us.”

Inniss said: “St Anthony’s College has been very interested in protecting the environment and we have our very own registered environmental club with the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).”

“We hope that through this awareness programme with St Anthony’s, the UNDP can give us some additional support, in terms of developing the other programmes here at the school.

“We have an aquaponics programme and we have been doing some agriculture and I would like to see that become an automated programme that is solar powered. Through that, the boys will learn more about the technology and be a part of its development and hopefully become the future providers of the renewable technology.”

Inniss added that he also has plans to develop a windmill system and find ways to treat with the issue of plastics, all in the aim of helping the young men of St Anthony’s develop a better awareness of their environment and the world they are inheriting.

The SAC students who participated in the UNDP event on World Environment Day were enlisted from Forms 2 and 3. Inniss said they chose the boys in those levels primarily because they want those who will be in the system longer to learn, implement and share the knowledge gained through the environmental club and where renewable energy is concerned.

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Public Awareness and Education Campaign also featured representatives from:

  • The Airports Authority, who highlighted and invited the students to visit their solar farm;
  • BELEC Power and Energy Solutions, who showcased and instructed the young men about the basics of solar installation and provided them with a hands-on experience at switching on a solar system.
  • Great Wall Motors who excited the youngsters with a viewing of the all-electric vehicle, the GWM Ora.

The public awareness and education campaign was also held in collaboration with the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Initiative, the European Union and the Ministry of Planning and Development.